Metohija (Serbian Cyrillic: Метохија,
pronounced [mɛtɔ̌xija]) or Dukagjini (Albanian: Rrafshi i
Dukagjinit, pronounced [ˈrafʃi i dukaˈɟinit])) is a large
basin and the name of the region covering the southwestern part of
Kosovo.[a] The region covers 35% (3,891 km2) of Kosovo's total
area. According to the 2011 census, the population of the region is
4.2 Middle Ages
4.3 Early modern
It encompasses three of the seven districts of Kosovo:
Density (per km2))
Metohija derives from the Greek word μετόχια
(metókhia, metochion), meaning "monastic estates" – a
reference to the large number of villages and estates in the region
that were owned by the Serbian Orthodox monasteries and Mount Athos
during the Middle Ages.
Patriarchal Monastery of Peć, the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church
from the 14th century. The name
Metohija means "monastic estates"
In Albanian the area is called Rrafshi i Dukagjinit and means "the
plateau of Dukagjin", as the toponym (in Albanian language) took the
name of the Dukagjini family.
The term "
Kosovo and Metohija" (Serbian Cyrillic: Косово и
Метохија) was in official use for the autonomous province
until 1974, when the constitutional status of
Kosovo underwent major
changes in a newly established constitution of SFR Yugoslavia. The
1974 constitution dropped the term "Metohija", and "Kosovo" became the
official term for the province as a whole. The change was not accepted
in Serbia, where the old name continued to be in use (for example in
the 1986 SANU Memorandum). In 1989, the then Serbian President
Slobodan Milošević promulgated a new constitution that greatly
reduced the province's autonomy and restored the old name, thus
symbolically undoing the earlier reforms.
Metohija is 23 km (14 mi) wide at its broadest point and
about 60 km (37 mi) long, at an average altitude of
450 m (1,476 ft) above sea level. Its principal river is
the White Drin. It is bordered by the mountain ranges Mokra Gora in
the north and northwest, the
Prokletije in the west, Paštrik
(Albanian: Pashtrik) in the southwest, the
Šar Mountains (Albanian:
Malet e Sharrit) in the south and southeast, and Drenica, which
distinguishes it from the rest of
Kosovo in the east and northeast.
The geographic division between
Metohija and rest of
differences between the two areas' flora and fauna.
Metohija has the
characteristic influences of the Mediterranean, while rest of Kosovo's
ecology does not differ from Central Serbia's.
Left: Rugova Canyon, Right: Mirusha Park
Metohija consists of fertile arable land with many small rivers which
provide water for irrigation and, in combination with the
Mediterranean climate, give excellent fields except for cereals. This
area is well known for its high-quality vineyards, fruit orchards, and
for the growing of chestnut and almond trees.
The geographical region of
Metohija is further divided into four
parts: Podgor, Prekoruplje, Reka and Rugovo.
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See also: History of Kosovo
Based on archaeology, the region of
Metohija and the Morava
Valley were interconnected in the Neolithic (Starčevo and Vinča) and
Triballi of Morava entered
Kosovo in two waves in
the 8th and 7th centuries BC, then took part in the genesis of the
Dardani. Necropolises near
Zhur suggest that the southwesternmost
Metohija at the end of 6th century BC was subject to Illyrian
influx. After the Roman conquests, the
Metohija region was divided
into Dardania and Praevalitana.
Our Lady of Ljeviš
Our Lady of Ljeviš was founded by Serbian King Stefan Milutin.
Coinciding with the decline of the Roman Empire, many "barbarian"
tribes passed through the Balkans, most of whom did not leave any
lasting state. The Slavs, however, overwhelmed the Balkans in the 6th
and 7th centuries. The Principality of
Serbia included the city of
Destinikon, which is mostly believed to have been in Metohija. The
region was conquered by Bulgaria in the early 10th century, after
which Byzantine rule was restored in ca. 960.
Stefan Nemanja was
recognized independent in 1190; most of
Metohija were in
Serbian hands. During the Fall of the Serbian Empire, the Branković
family held most of the region of Metohija.
Metohija was conquered by the
Ottoman Empire and incorporated into the
Kosovo after the fall of
Serbia in 1459.
The area was taken by the
Kingdom of Montenegro
Kingdom of Montenegro in the 1912 First
Balkan War except
Prizren area, conquered by Kingdom of Serbia. During
the First World War, Montenegro was conquered by the Austro-Hungarian
forces in 1915. The
Central Powers were pushed out of
Metohija by the
Serbian Army in 1918. Montenegro subsequently joined the Kingdom of
Serbia, which was followed by the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes. The Kingdom was reformed into the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia in 1929. The Kingdom suffered an Axis invasion during World
War II in 1941, and the region of
Metohija was incorporated into
Italian-controlled Albania, with the Italians employing the
"Vulnetari", an Albanian volunteer milita, to control the villages.
After Italy's treaty with the Allies in 1943, the Germans took direct
control over the region, supported by the local Albanian
collaborationists (Balli Kombëtar). After numerous rebellions of Serb
Chetniks and Yugoslav Partisans,
Metohija was captured by Serb forces
in 1944. In 1946, it became part of Serbia's Autonomous Province of
Kosovo and Metohija, within the transitional Democratic Federal
On 17 February 2008,
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from
Serbia. The country still considers
Metohija part of its sovereign
^ a b
Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the
Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo
unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia
continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two
governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the
Kosovo has received formal recognition as an
independent state from 113 out of 193
United Nations member states.
^ Paulin Kola, The Search for Greater Albania, p. 47 fn 108. C. Hurst
& Co, 2003. ISBN 978-1-85065-664-7
^ Elsie, Robert (2004). Historical dictionary of Kosova. Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 119.
^ Ulqini, Kahreman (12–18 January 1968). "Prejardhja dhe zhvillimi i
toponimit DUKAGJIN". Second Conference of Albanological Studies.
^ Kosta Mihailović; Akademija nauka i umjetnosti Republike Srpske
Kosovo and Metohija: past, present, future : papers
presented at the International Scholarly Meeting held at the Serbian
Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, March 16-18, 2006. SANU.
p. 121. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
^ Geographical Atlas of Yugoslavia, University Press "Liber", Zagreb,
1987. – made from military maps of Geographical Military
^ Alekan Jovanović (1937). Spomenica dvadesetpetogodishnjice
oslobodjenja Južne Srbije. p. 432.
^ a b c Stojić, Milorad (2000). "Етнокултурни однос
Косова и Поморавља у праисторији".
Зборник радова Филозофског факултета
у Приштини. 30.
Pejin, Jovan (2006). "The Extermination of the
Serbs in Metohia,
1941-1944". Срби на Косову и у Метохији:
Зборник радова са научног скупа (PDF).
Београд: Српска академија наука и
уметности. pp. 189–207.
Geographical regions of Kosovo
Gollak / Goljak
Has of Prizren
Kosovo (Ibarski Kolašin)
Kosovsko Pomoravlje / Anamorava
Rrafshi i Llapit / Malo Kosovo
Metohija / Dukagjini
Novobrdska Kriva reka
Opoja / Opolje
Podrimlje / Podrima
Prekoruplje / Prekorupa, Llapusha
Rugova / Rugovo
Vučitrnski rukavac / Ortakol